British Fashion Brand Expands to Continent

By Mash Bonigala

Sales at discounted fashion retailer M and M Direct soared over the Christmas season, which has inspired the company to plan a German invasion. The chief executive recently announced that a German language website will be launched in the new future, along with a new, more international focus. How will this affect the M and M brand? Can this discount retailer find similar success in a new market?

The M and M brand is one that many people can identify with in the midst of a recession. With wages low and for many people nonexistent, many people in the UK are turning to discount retailers in hopes of continuing their current quality of life on a reduced budget. The M and M logo design is simple and soothing, with a watery blue combined with a sophisticated black as a colour palette. The rounded letters of the logo design give a friendly and inclusive feeling that allows discount shoppers to feel that they are welcome to find deals here.

Meanwhile, a strong Euro has encouraged European shoppers to begin experiencing the brand. International sales now account for a considerable chunk of profit, with internet orders up around 30 percent. The company’s decision to begin catering to their new and growing market makes sense in this context.

How will Germans feel about M and M Direct? The simple brand is likely to appeal to discount shoppers on an international level, as has been suggested by the growth in foreign sales. If the brand is resonating with this market already, there is no reason not to reach out with a website in their language. This is a low risk choice for the brand, but one that may pay off immensely.

One pitfall that many companies face when expanding to a new market is that of losing their core market in the process. However, M and M plans to avoid this by growing within their core as well. An expanded range of products is in the works for British discount customers as well. Clearly the brand has not forgotten that their core group of customers remains in the UK.

Businesses all over London saw a surge in sales last December. For business with an online component, this included a sharp increase in international sales. For example, M and M competitor Asos saw an increase of 23 percent in UK sales and a raise of 162 percent in international sales. Sales throughout Central London increased by 12 percent.

Instead of becoming complacent, other companies may want to take M and M Direct’s lead in expanding to other markets. With the UK increasingly and disproportionately affected by the global recession, it is easy to predict that this increase in sales may be temporary. With wages sinking, tax rates rising, and jobs becoming fewer and further between, expanding to a market that shows more promise may be key to survival. However, this move will only be successful if great care is taken not to compromise the original brand and logo design.